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The Use Of Methods For Injury Determination And Quantification From Natural Resource Damage Assessment In Ecological Risk Assessment

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Several Federal statutes provide the government the authority to recover natural resource damages including the Clean Water Act Amendments (1977), the Outer Continental Shelf Act Amendments (1978), the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) of 1980, and the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90). CERCLA and OPA 90 are the principle Federal statutes which authorize trustees to assess damages for trust resources which are lost, injured, or destroyed as a result of the discharge of oil or the release of hazardous substances. The Department of the Interior was charged with developing natural resource damage assessment (NRDA) regulations and procedures from CERCLA and the Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was charged with developing regulations for OPA 90. NRDA is a process for making the public "whole" for direct injury to natural resources and/or the services of natural resources. The primary objectives of the NRDA process are to identify and quantify natural resource injury, determine the damages resulting from the injury, and develop and implement appropriate restoration actions. The goal is to be accomplished by implementing a plan for the restoration, rehabilitation, replacement, or acquisition of equivalent natural resources. NRDA is an after-the-fact process; however, the OPA 90 NRDA rules describe a pre-spill planning process. The models and formulae can be used in this pre-spill planning process to estimate damages (both ecological and economic). Some of those tools, in particular NRDAMCME, have uses in ranking risk from spills of petroleum products and hazardous substances. This information can be used to protect ecological resources and lower NRDA costs through pre spill planning and management of resources during a spill.

Keywords: Compensation; Comprehensive Environmental Response; Oil Pollution Act of 1990; and Liability Act of 1980; ecological/economic models; restoration

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Post, Buckley, Schuh & Jernigan, Inc. 2: Applied Sciences Associates, Inc.

Publication date: 1998-08-01

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